Located on the outskirts of Clydebank, Glasgow just beside the Kilpatrick hills, the Auchentoshan distillery sits nestled on the edge of a housing estate and besides a busy main road. Take a look about and you see the rolling hills, headstones in a nearby cemetery and the mighty Erskine Bridge, so just a typical distillery it would seem..
The distillery history can be traced back to around 1800, when a distillery named as Duntocher is mentioned for producing a single malt whisky on the same site, and it is strongly believed to be what we now know as Auchentoshan..
Auchentoshan is unusual in that it practices triple distillation instead of the industry norm double distillation. This is believed to produce a lighter more floral, sweeter whisky generallay associated with the ” Lowlands” area of Scotland’s whisky production. Auchentoshan is not a distillery that you will find any peat or smoke used within its production, as it likely to over power the more delicate, floral whisky and its lovely subtle fruit flavours..
However more recently the distillery is starting to produce some more hefty, big bodied and absolutely fantastic fully matured sherried whisky from both Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks as well as some absolute stunning wine cask “finishes” and full maturation, although this may not be a new thing it is becoming more mainstream..
21 year old Auchentoshan – Review
Age.. 21 years
Cask.. American Oak ( Bourbon ) European oak ( Sherry / Oloroso )
Nose.. Lots of green notes in here including green apples, lime, lemon peel with a touch of dried grass, pear and honey. A little heather honey mixes with soft hints of dates, chocolate and floral notes, add to this that signature nuttiness that Auchentoshan is well known for and you have a very appealing aroma.
Palate.. A little more robust than some of the younger expressions with plenty of fresh fruits, soft spices and chocolate. A touch of honey brings in some sweetness, oak tannins give the feeling of a little age while a citrus note gives a subtle bitterness towards the end.
Finish.. Soft spices mingle with a citrus bitterness
Thoughts.. I have had my say on the preposterous, shameful, downward spiralling route into a cocktail dominated existence the distillery seems to be heading, but take that away, along with the ridiculous reasoning behind creating a more expensive, average whisky designed by bartenders for bartenders, especially when you have perfectly good whisky already in the market for that purpose and you are left with what is in essence the very liquid I fell in love with so many years ago..
This 21 year old is the flagship expression within the core range and its there for a reason.. The higher use of the bourbon casks is apparent and without going overboard it allows the nature of the softer side of the Auchentoshan spirit to shine, add to this the re-fill sherry casks and the balance is equalled out rather nicely.
The 43% abv is a welcome step up although I cant help but think maybe 46% would suit better, there is just a tiny flat spot within, this shows when you get to try this at cask strength as it becomes obvious and when it is retailing at the £126 mark just a little more vavoom wouldn’t go astray !!
Even though I have given a few negatives, and believe me, it always pains me to do so, I still have the 21 as one of my favourite Auchentoshan expressions.. There is generally an open bottle on my shelf for those evenings when I need something familiar, something to give me a little boost..
There are still no commission links for those who need to know..